OPINIONBy Israel Ebije
The extent to which Nigerians have fragmented along ethno-religious components can only be measured in the direction of wish list drafted along unfortunate cleavage based perspectives. The nation is balkanised, serially polarised and dangerously fired up with hate agenda hot enough to make the sun shy of how cold it before the hate heat.
The recent death rumour of President Muhammadu Buhari across social media platforms is only a reflection of how some segment of Nigerians would want to bury the President just for mischief value occasioned by the unabated hate mantra wielded across the country.
Who could the possible culprits of the death rumour be? Is it those calling for an independent country, or those who believe the present administration favours a religious group, or those who believe his death will shift power from the North, or those corrupt politicians who loath the fight against corruption, etc?
Nigerian leaders since 2011 have suffered ethno-religious rejection, culminating into what Buhari is experiencing. For former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, some Northerners see him as the worst president ever produced in the country. The war against terror was used to measure his administration and the thirst of the North to get their “mandate” back formed a blinding shield to whatever good intentions he had for the country.
An evil seed is already growing in the country. It is difficult to predict where the hate mantra will take Nigeria. The issue of a collective heritage is fast eluding us. Those who set off the rumour understand the extent of our gullibility as a country in swallowing information without filtering. For me, it is sad how we mostly allow ourselves to be part of those who made the news go viral.
Authors of the death rumour know Nigerians will take the information to the next level of hate. Only a few may foolishly believe it, the other divides used the information to unleash hate speeches. Those in support of Buhari, used it to release avalanche of curses at those perceived against him, the other divide used it to gloat, hoping to draw flaks.
It is instructive to intimate that Nigerians are already fighting a virtual war on social media platforms. The heat coming from the wave of assault hauled at perceived enemies is only waiting for a physical base to trigger off a full scale war between North, South, Christians and Muslims. Let no one make any mistake, we are more divided than we have ever been since independence. We have more reasons to hate ourselves based on ethnic, religious cleavage with leaders who have axe to grind with the system based on complicity over corruption fanning the embers for the rest to blow hot steam.